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Old 15-12-2015, 13:22   #31
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
sorry to bump this, but still curious here. Read maine sail's discussion on this, don't need a hundred dollar crimper for the 10-20 crimps i will make, but do want something that works well. I have a very high end crimp tool that takes interchangeable dies, but the dies would cost much more than something like this, which I think would work ok

Titan 11477 Ratcheting Wire Terminal Crimper - - Amazon.com
That is a double crimper and for heat shrink butts you need a single crimper designed for heat shrink or you will rip the shrink at a pretty high rate. The OD is also different for insulated terminals vs. heat shrink so the crimp from a double tool is incorrect for heat shrink.

BTW the HF terminals are very poor quality, do not meet any standard for terminal OD/ID and the crimp barrel is far too short.

Single Crimp Tool
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:26   #32
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

thanks. didn't realize it was double crimp action. didn't see that in the description.... btw, sent you a pm
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Old 15-12-2015, 21:06   #33
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

I've been doing twisted, soldered wire splices for decades, and a lot of that on boats. I've seen crimped connectors fail so many times I've lost count. The only time I crimp is to put a terminal on a wire, and then I solder that to seal the end where the wire is exposed and provide a solid resistance-free connection. I have never had a soldered, potted and heat shrunk connection fail. This includes connections which end up submerged. Of course, you have to do each step right, just as with any other technique...
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Old 15-12-2015, 21:28   #34
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by IolantheSF View Post
I've been doing twisted, soldered wire splices for decades, and a lot of that on boats. I've seen crimped connectors fail so many times I've lost count. The only time I crimp is to put a terminal on a wire, and then I solder that to seal the end where the wire is exposed and provide a solid resistance-free connection. I have never had a soldered, potted and heat shrunk connection fail. This includes connections which end up submerged. Of course, you have to do each step right, just as with any other technique...
I think a lot of the heat for soldered connections comes from automotive and aviation where vibration kills soldered connections. If you don't have vibration and you do a good joint, how could things be better?
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Old 15-12-2015, 21:42   #35
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

The key thing on soldering is to use only enough solder to fill the joint without having it wick down the wire, and get a shiny (not granulated) finish with good wet-out on the metal. Manage this, and you only have a small area which is rigid, much the size of a crimp connector. It's a bit of a skill, whereas crimping is rather simple by comparison. Practice it a bit and it will come to you.
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Old 15-12-2015, 22:07   #36
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by IolantheSF View Post
The key thing on soldering is to use only enough solder to fill the joint without having it wick down the wire, and get a shiny (not granulated) finish with good wet-out on the metal. Manage this, and you only have a small area which is rigid, much the size of a crimp connector. It's a bit of a skill, whereas crimping is rather simple by comparison. Practice it a bit and it will come to you.
Even so, in aerospace you only see soldered connections inside a box where everything is held secure. Outside the box, it's all crimped.
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Old 16-12-2015, 05:47   #37
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by IolantheSF View Post
I've been doing twisted, soldered wire splices for decades, and a lot of that on boats. I've seen crimped connectors fail so many times I've lost count. The only time I crimp is to put a terminal on a wire, and then I solder that to seal the end where the wire is exposed and provide a solid resistance-free connection. I have never had a soldered, potted and heat shrunk connection fail. This includes connections which end up submerged. Of course, you have to do each step right, just as with any other technique...
Do I believe you are capable of making reliable soldered splices? Yes. Do I believe most people are going to make reliable soldered connections? No. Just too many variables, workmanship being just one of them.

If the average person buys good connectors and the correct crimpers, it's much more likely that they will make a reliable and safe connection. It's also much easier to verify the integrity of a crimp (visual, give a tug) than it is to verify a soldered splice under heatshrink. There could be anything under there.
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Old 16-12-2015, 06:35   #38
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

Last year I refurbed a galley stove and in the process ended up with a bunch of very small diameter copper tubing. Being cheap, I wouldn't throw it away. I cut it up into one inch and half inch pieces. I've found that it serves very well as a crimp butt connector, with shrink over it. It also takes solder well. A set of Vise Grips makes an acceptable crimper on a budget, or in a pinch ( yuk yuk) too.

I don't even go into HF stores, but to be honest half of my reason is political. The other half is that they sell really, really crappy stuff.
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Old 16-12-2015, 11:04   #39
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

Funny thing, although I do plenty of soldering, I've never run out of butane or electricity while making a crimped connection on a boat.


And, my crimping tools don't complain when it is icy cold and small soldering tools can't give an ant a sunburn.
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Old 16-12-2015, 11:12   #40
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Last year I refurbed a galley stove and in the process ended up with a bunch of very small diameter copper tubing. Being cheap, I wouldn't throw it away. I cut it up into one inch and half inch pieces. I've found that it serves very well as a crimp butt connector, with shrink over it. It also takes solder well. A set of Vise Grips makes an acceptable crimper on a budget, or in a pinch ( yuk yuk) too.

I don't even go into HF stores, but to be honest half of my reason is political. The other half is that they sell really, really crappy stuff.
Give yourself a break, you are frugal.

You are able to get something brand name at HF is you watch the ads. You just need to be there to buy the only one in the store, no rain checks. Or it could be, Oh that truck hasn't arrived yet or it's in the back and we can't find it. I guess it's good to get people in the stores, ethics?
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Old 16-12-2015, 15:31   #41
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

I actually did buy one of those fancy ratcheting dual crimpers, and hundreds of yellow, blue, red Ancor connectors, etc. I even bought a bunch of the ones that let you put two different wire sizes together.

I'm finding a lot of frustration using this thing in-situ. It's okay working on a bench, where you can orient the crimp and get everything just right, but trying to put a loose crimp on the end of a wire that only sticks out an inch or two, in a bilge, one handed, I waste more crimps that I like. I sometimes find the cheap, flat metal crimpers work better in those situation because you don't have to line everything up perfectly, and get the connector just right in the jaws, etc.

I'm sure there's a technique for it, but so far it seems to elude me.
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Old 16-12-2015, 15:46   #42
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

Working on tight stubs like that, first I try to pull out any slack, and twist the end of the wire so no strands are standing out. Then I put the connector in the ratcheting crimp tool and squeeze down just enough so the tool is grasping the crimp all by itself.


Then it becomes pretty easy to use one hand to move the crimp and crimper, as one unit, onto the stub of wire and complete the crimp, while using the other hand to keep the stub in place, if needed. Once the wire has started to crimp in, you can let it go and continue to use both hands on the crimper.


Piece of cake, upside down and backwards chest-deep into a space behind some panel while the boat is bouncing around and the skipper is yelling "IS IT FIXED YET?" isn't it?(G)
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Old 16-12-2015, 16:09   #43
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
I actually did buy one of those fancy ratcheting dual crimpers, and hundreds of yellow, blue, red Ancor connectors, etc. I even bought a bunch of the ones that let you put two different wire sizes together.

I'm finding a lot of frustration using this thing in-situ. It's okay working on a bench, where you can orient the crimp and get everything just right, but trying to put a loose crimp on the end of a wire that only sticks out an inch or two, in a bilge, one handed, I waste more crimps that I like. I sometimes find the cheap, flat metal crimpers work better in those situation because you don't have to line everything up perfectly, and get the connector just right in the jaws, etc.

I'm sure there's a technique for it, but so far it seems to elude me.
If you're tight for room the ratcheting crimps are a total pain. I grab my cheap vise grip stripper crimper most of the time cause it's fast and does a solid job. The purist won't approve and I understand their position. A good stripper which the below tool has is very important to good crimp job.

IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Multi Tool Stripper, Cutter and Crimper, 8-Inch (2078309) - Wire Strippers - Amazon.com

Back to the OP, like someone said I think the HF crimps are made with steel and have no place on a boat. I like the 3M crimps and can get deals on amazon. Could have a nice butt splice kit and tool for just over $40. Don't forget to get different type of ring lugs.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
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Old 16-12-2015, 17:58   #44
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

Since this has become a bit of a HF discussion I must say I have bought a lot of tools from them and have been amazed at how many hours I have got out of them. Cheap multi-tool, sanders, grinders, shop vac, etc.. I am not an occasional user but must admit I feel guilty since I know these prices are subsidized by China and take money away from other businesses that have to play by the rules. I give them their fair share as well but that is no pardon.
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Old 16-12-2015, 18:22   #45
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Re: Harbor Freight Butt End Waterproof connectors

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I'm finding a lot of frustration using this thing in-situ. It's okay working on a bench, where you can orient the crimp and get everything just right, but trying to put a loose crimp on the end of a wire that only sticks out an inch or two, in a bilge, one handed, I waste more crimps that I like.
You're not leaving enough slack, clearly. There should be a minimum of 3" of wire clear of any obstruction so that you can do a good crimp. Wire's cheap, leave slack. If you can't leave enough slack, run a new wire. Avoid splices in the bilge.

There are some tricks that can help:
  • as per hellosailor, preload a lug in the crimper so it's holding the lug, then you bring the crimper to the stripped wire, insert the wire and squeeze when it's fully home
  • use the cheaper non-ratcheting crimpers to snug the crimp on the wire, then use the controlled cycle crimpers on it
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